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Youth climate conference speakers announced

Youth climate conference speakers announced

04 March 2020
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Wokingham Borough Council is delighted to reveal the guest speakers for its inaugural youth climate conference on March 30. 

Students aged 16 and older from schools across the borough will be invited to attend the conference and be ambassadors at their own schools by passing on what they have learned.

Topics covered on the day, with the event running from 4-7pm, will include sustainable fashion, climate justice, migration and sustainable transport – as well as a Question Time-style panel. 

The speakers will be:

  • Ruth Gibbs, Oxfam
  • Africa Bauza Garcia-Arcicollar and Dr Alex McLaughlin, University of Reading
  • Domhnall McFarline and Julie Pillai, My Journey Wokingham (sustainable transport)

Sustainable fashion

Ruth will covering who Oxfam are and how they are involved in sustainable fashion. 

She will focus on what happens to clothes that are donated to the charity and how reusing, recycling or upcycling clothes can benefit our climate, and people around the world, as well as our environment.

She said: "I'm excited to be involved at this critical time for our climate. Oxfam is leading the way in promoting second hand as a sustainable solution to fast fashion. I hope to inspire students to act now."

Social justice and climate change

Alex, a teaching fellow at the university, and Africa, a PhD student, will be introducing climate change as a matter of social justice and explore different principles to distribute the burdens of climate change. 

They will look at representation, migration and morality. They will reflect on young activists fighting climate change around the world, reflecting on what could be possible here and now.

They said: “We are really excited to be part of the Wokingham Borough Council’s youth climate conference. We hope to transmit a sense of empathy towards affected populations and empower young people to take action here and now.”

Transport habits

Domhnall and Julie will be introducing My Journey Wokingham and detailing the project’s initiatives and activities which attempt to change residents’ travel habits to be more sustainable. 

Their work ranges from schools, to workplaces and within community projects, and generally tries to foster change from the bottom up. 

They said: “We are delighted to get the chance to discuss a vitally important issue with the borough’s young people and to get their perspectives on methods to foster behaviour change. 

The choice of how we travel anywhere is a choice we make every day, and any changes will have big consequences.”

Action plan

It follows publication of the council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan in January. One of the areas within this as a key priority is ‘engaging with young people and supporting sustainable schools’. 

This is one of the first of many projects we will be carrying out to engage young people.

The action plan sets out how the council will encourage climate friendly behaviours through school visits and educational projects as well as facilitating young people to lead behaviour change across the borough.

“I’m delighted to invite these fantastic speakers to join us at the council offices to inform us on, and discuss, these important topics,” said Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for climate emergency. 

“These experts bring a real depth and breadth of knowledge to our event and we know the young people attending will take home ideas and information to help them make a difference in their lives.”


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